Seventh-Day Adventists split over evolution?

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Via John Pieret’s excellent Thoughts in a Haystack blog I learn of an ongoing controversy about the teaching of evolution at Adventist Universities. (See also this Sept. 1 article from Inside Higher Ed.) The latest event is that the board of trustess of La Sierra University in Riverside, California, voted to endorse young-earth creationism:

La Sierra’s board of trustees last week unanimously voted to endorse Adventist beliefs that the world was created in six 24-hour days and said the teaching of evolution must be “within the context of the Adventist belief regarding creation.”

The board also proposed that all 15 North American Adventist universities develop a curriculum that includes a “scientifically rigorous affirmation” of Adventist creation beliefs.

At first glance, it is confusing that this is news. Those of us who are familiar with the history of creationism and have read Ronald Numbers’ classic The Creationists, and learned that the Seventh-Day Adventists were virtually the only fundamentalists who produced major advocates supporting belief in a young earth and global flood in the early 20th century – based on the literalist visions of Adventist founder and prophetess Ellen White. It was only in the 1960s that the young-earth/global view became dominant within American fundamentalism/conservative evangelicalism in general, primarily through the efforts of Henry Morris and John Whitcomb in The Genesis Flood.

Due to the above, it would be natural to assume that if anyone dependably takes a stauch YEC position, it would be the Seventh Day Adventists. The Adventists and their Geoscience Research Center supplied most of the creationist expert witnesses in the 1981 McLean vs. Arkansas trial, and the official position of the church seems to be unambiguous. As one Adventist writes,

The point is not whether or not Darwinian evolution is true (I don’t believe it is, but that is another issue altogether). The point is an ecclesiastical one, not a scientific one: Like it or not (and I take it that Ron doesn’t like it), the official, endorsed, published, voted, endorsed, sanctioned, (add your own synonyms here _____________) position of the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church is that the Genesis creation account is to be literally understood as communicating an actual, literal, solar Six Day Creation.

Open-and-shut case, yes? Well, apparently some of the professors at La Sierra haven’t been reading the history or doctrinal statements, and have been treating evolution in a less-than-completely-hostile fashion. An example posted online is the syllabus of Bio112, which is 1/3 devoted to evolution and contains a fairly strong statement that students need to learn about the evidence for evolution, whether or not they decide to believe it. This article gives the “dirt” on four La Sierra biology profs that apparently defiantly teach evolution. This has got some La Sierra graduate and Adventist named Shane Hilde so annoyed that he has launched a petition drive and website (it’s a big and detailed website, http://www.educatetruth.com/) with the goal of cracking down on evolution at SDA universities.

Hilde’s campaign seems to be working. The board of trustees decision at La Sierra is any indication, it seems to be working. Another indication comes from an October article by Hilde:

One has to wonder why LSU refuses to be transparent. As the veil is being pulled back, some parents are realizing LSU is not the place for their children. One such parent, Karen McPherson, said: “My daughter went to La Sierra. When I discovered they were teaching naturalistic evolution – I transferred her to Pacific Union College. The transfer was for this reason alone!”

This passage is…interesting. Apparently McPherson thinks that PUC (an Adventist school in the hills of the wine country just 1 hour north of San Francisco) is a resolutely YEC school. I thought so also, until I visited it in 2006. Here’s the story.

In 2006, Wes Elsberry and I were invited to come to PUC and debate evolution for part of a student-organized speaker series. We were initially hesitant, since we are generally skeptical of debating creationists. However, after some discussion with the organizers, we grudgingly signed up, since it seemed like there was some chance for a reasonable discussion rather than just a Gish-gallop debate. Wes and I drove up to PUC – but, aware of the YECiness of Adventists, we went in as armed to the teeth as academics can be, with huge powerpoint files solely devoted to putting evidence for the age of the earth and common ancestry as bluntly and non-deniably as possible. When I spoke, I popped the slides up one-by-one and used the basic refrain, “Here are the hard facts. If this evidence has been hidden from you before now by your teachers and professors, you should ask yourself why.” It was pretty much a go-in-with-blazing-guns strategy.

However, as the discussion ensued, the students, and some of the professors, had some news for me. “You’ve got us all wrong,” they said. “We’re not all old-fashioned young-earth creationists and anti-evolutionists here, that’s an old stereotype about Adventists.” (Note: this is not a direct quote, rather it is just the gist of what I remember hearing.) Subsequent discussion indicated that many of the students & profs were reasonably well-informed about evolution and not really skeptical of it. After some interesting chats, Wes and I drove home, shaking our heads and commenting that if Seventh Day Adventists were becoming OK with evolution, we should keep our eyes open for flying pigs and freezing hells.

So, anyway, the point is: watch out Hilde & McPherson! It looks like Pacific Union College isn’t safe, either! Light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks!

(The other point is: even if the claims in the movie Expelled were true, which they aren’t, they still don’t add up to anything like the campaigns that have been waged against supporters of mainstream science at fundamentalist colleges. Such things have been going on since the 1800s at evagelical schools; it has just taken until the 21st century for the Adventist schools to catch up.)

869 Comments

If the SDAs want “scientifically rigorous affirmation” of Young Earth Creationism, maybe they should contract with the Dishonesty Institute’s “Biologic Institute” - they must be making such breakthroughs every day by now.

I grew up as an Adventist, being educated in the Adventist system, and there was definitely a bit of schizophrenia on this point. Science education was VERY important. The Adventists were rightly proud of their history and current work in the field of medicine. We were constantly regaled with stories of Adventist role models, and almost all of them were doctors or researchers. (Ranged from physicians like Ben Carson and the teams of doctors at Loma Linda University Medical Center who have made breakthroughs in organ transplants, to the missionary doctors who slog their way through war zones to give medical care to refugees.) The Adventist elementary and high schools really pushed the sciences - physics, biology, math, with the assumption that Jesus would be very pleased if we could all go to medical school and cure cancer.

The Adventist theory on evolution was acknowledged, just as the church’s official position on female clergy (painfully atavistic.) We were made aware of these positions, were told why they existed, and given the biblical or prophetic evidence to support it. Aaaaaand, then not much else was said about it. Our biology classes made no apologies about discussing small scale evolution, such as the development of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. We were encouraged to keep up with science news. TV shows like Cosmos, though technically ‘wrong’ because Carl Sagan spoke of time scales that the church didn’t agree with, were considered to be perfectly acceptable because it was important to understand the science of astronomy, and also to appreciate the grandeur of creation.

As in many social situations, the louder somebody is, the more likely observers are to assume that they represent the opinions of their group. There are some very loud, very stupid Adventists out there. Pick up a copy of The Signs of the Times someday just for laughs - they are officially part of the church, but I’ve met very few Adventists who take them seriously.

As for the Young Earth Creation thing, I think a lot of Adventists sort of nod and smile and ignore the theory. I know most of my teachers did, up through the Adventist college I attended for a while. Intellectually dishonest? Probably, but that’s another discussion entirely.

You’ll never know for sure.

I thought that here in Finland Laestadianism (a conservative Lutheran revival movement) debunks evolution etc. and I put it on my webpages. But then one leastadion emailed and told there was evolution-positive article in theirs papers by some teacher. And later there came news that some of them are secularized. In nothern Norway there was serious bitter split and argument among themselves about age of earth.

So I can see that already quite old findings of science still shatter religious movements and split them.

Do the Adventists have a “scientifically rigorous affirmation” of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin? I’ve checked Wikipedia, but they don’t have a published number.

Do LSU and PUC receive any federal funding? This seems to me to be the critical issue. Many private institutions actually prohibit such funding specifically so that they can be free to peddle their favorite brand of propaganda.

If they do receive any federal funds, even research grants with overhead, then it would seem that any action taken against the teaching of science on religious grounds would be illegal and unconstitutional.

If they do not receive any federal or state funding, something that would seem unlikely), then of course they are free to peddle whatever clap-trap they choose. Where they are going to get trained professors and where their graduates are going to get jobs is another issue entirely and one they will have to deal with, without the aid of federal or state funding.

Matt G said:

Do the Adventists have a “scientifically rigorous affirmation” of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin? I’ve checked Wikipedia, but they don’t have a published number.

Don’t think so - that whole “# of angels on the head of a pin” story was brought up when I was in school, but in the context of “see how silly Catholics can be.” That probably wasn’t entirely fair, but theological questions like that were presented as being irrelevant and/or sacreligious.

I attended a Seventh Day Adventist high school and was a member of the church for a few years and my experience was very similar to April’s. While the biology teacher stated that he didn’t personally believe in “unguided” evolution we were still given a good basic understanding of evolutionary principles. I’m still not sure if my teacher believed in a literal 6 day creation because he never discussed his peresonal beliefs more than that once. We used a standard hs bio text, not a religious one and he taught from that.

In physics we never even discussed creationism. It was big band all the way, and none of the students in my class ever brought up literal creation as a counter-argument.

When I became an atheist and skeptic I was surprised to learn about the involvement of SDAs in the creationist movement because it just never seemed to be something that was all that imortant to the SDAs I knew. Some of us were literal creationists, some not and I never knew anyone who cared either way. But I didn’t grow up in the church and was only a member for a few years so my perspective may be skewed.

It’s always maddening when creationists talk about making a “scientific” case for their beliefs. Especially maddening is the “we just interpret the same evidence differently” canard. They don’t interpret the evidence at all - they just shoehorn it into their dogma. It was flabbergasting to see “anonymouse” (from the last thread) talk about how it was inappropriate to look at the evidence alone! In his/her mind, I guess we must rely on the guidance of the Bible to correctly interpret the evidence and arrive at the correct conclusions. Insane! A nice example of begging the question.

People within the SDA have been trying to purge or EXPELL the La Sierra biology faculty for a while.

Wait and see whether they succeed. They might.

The SDA is famous for schisms. Among their progeny is Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God, a vicious cult that itself shattered into 300 or so pieces and the Branch Davidians who had a little problem in Waco, TX.

It is about time for them to have another schism and there are deep divisions within the membership.

Especially maddening is the “we just interpret the same evidence differently” canard.

That is a complete lie they use often.

They don’t use the same evidence and data. They twist, distort, and mutilate a small amount of the data. Ignore the vast majority of it. And then claim that is how you do science.

It is worth calling them on it every time. Their version of science is to chop up the evidence with a butcher knife and bury most of it with a shovel

Its sad that apparently good professors are going to be hounded out of their jobs and students at La Sierra are going to be denied a decent science education by ignorant fools.

DS said:

Do LSU and PUC receive any federal funding? This seems to me to be the critical issue. Many private institutions actually prohibit such funding specifically so that they can be free to peddle their favorite brand of propaganda.

If they do receive any federal funds, even research grants with overhead, then it would seem that any action taken against the teaching of science on religious grounds would be illegal and unconstitutional.

Um, what? As long as the government funding isn’t going to any of the religious claims there’s no problem. Religious universities get research grants all the time from the government just like secular universities.

Valuable information.

As another poster notes, it’s their own business - as long as they are denied all taxpayer funding.

Private schools like La Sierra don’t get public funding from the government, so I don’t see the big problem.

Obviously there IS a problem as far as their science goes, but according to the law they can teach whatever crackpot sideshow-science they want as long as they aren’t funded by taxpayer money.

However, this brings up another huge issue: shouldn’t the parents of these kids be considered unfit for custody of their children just by sending them to these loony bin schools? I’m sure I’m not the only one who considers this kind of education as cruel and unusual. None of these kids are going to be fit for any job in the sciences all because their parents decided to send them to a parochial school…

peaches said:

In physics we never even discussed creationism. It was big band all the way, and none of the students in my class ever brought up literal creation as a counter-argument.

Heh. That typo reminds me of Zappa’s explanation that the universe began with The Big Note. It’s still vibrating today.

Joshua wrote:

As long as the government funding isn’t going to any of the religious claims there’s no problem. Religious universities get research grants all the time from the government just like secular universities.”

This is not my understanding. Others can correct me if I am wrong. However, it seems to me that using public funds and teaching creationism is science class would definately violate the First Amendment of the Constitution. It would not matter if the funds were allocated for other purposes, it would still be a state sponsored institution and subject to the rules governing such.

In any event, as RDK points out, if they do not indeed receive any public money, there is no proiblem legally. Morally there are still many issues.

harold said: As another poster notes, it’s their own business - as long as they are denied all taxpayer funding.

I think what Josh Zelinsky was saying is that competitively awarded research grants can go to researchers at religious schools. Like any other researcher, these folk must win the grants in open, merit-based competition.

If you’re concerned about possible funding misuse, well, that does happen (and not just for religious motives). The system attempts to keep such misuse under control by using past performance as an award criteria. To wit: we’re going to ask you what you produced with your first $100k before giving you any more. If you have no scientific results because you used it to give church lectures instead of looking for a cure for cancer like your proposal said you would, no one’s going to renew it or grant you another.

fnxtr said: Heh. That typo reminds me of Zappa’s explanation that the universe began with The Big Note. It’s still vibrating today.

Hey, that (warning pun ahead) sounds like the Hindu philosophy. Then The Big Note must be aum

eric -

I think what Josh Zelinsky was saying is that competitively awarded research grants can go to researchers at religious schools. Like any other researcher, these folk must win the grants in open, merit-based competition.

Josh is exactly right, and my earlier comment was oversimplified.

Ironically, since I was briefly on faculty at the medical school of a Jesuit university (I am not and never have been a practicing Catholic). I wasn’t grant funded, I was a clinical professor, but there were many grant funded researchers. I have also trained at a strong research institution which is “officially Jewish” (I’m not Jewish, either).

Loma Linda University surely has many grant funded researchers on staff.

At the university I was affiliated with, there was certainly no problem, because there was no overlap with or conflict between the funded scientific research and the Jesuit theological training that went on in completely separate departments.

In theory, you could have Religion professors denying science all day long on one department, and productive scientists doing valid, useful, grant-funded research in other departments.

However, there is a limit, I think. Liberty University is well past that limit. They create an atmosphere that is clearly hostile to mainstream science, to the extent that it grant money given to any member of their faculty would likely be wasted. If the funded researcher truly pursued valid research, he or she would sooner of later be fired or driven off. If they used the money for “research” that was just a front to get weasel-worded coded religion into some kind of publication, the grant money would not only be wasted, but arguably used in a way that violates the constitution.

LSU is obviously not a major research school. Also not to be confused with the “other LSU”, which is far stronger in athletics, technically secular, but probably home to more than a few creationists students :).

Loma Linda is a solid research school, and this nonsense is clearly a potential threat to that status.

If you’re concerned about possible funding misuse, well, that does happen (and not just for religious motives).

True indeed.

The system attempts to keep such misuse under control by using past performance as an award criteria. To wit: we’re going to ask you what you produced with your first $100k before giving you any more.

The system is also brutally competitive, and has many flaws that others who post here would probably be delighted to comment on, but yes, some level of merit and accomplishment is usually required for continued grant funding.

If you have no scientific results because you used it to give church lectures instead of looking for a cure for cancer like your proposal said you would, no one’s going to renew it or grant you another.

If you did that, you’d be guilty of fraud, and in my opinion, it would behoove the justice system to administer the appropriate remedy.

Certainly religion-associated institutions can have strong, grant-funded, researching science departments. The Church of LDS (“Mormonism”) is associated with a very strong research institution (BYU), but they are not “officially” creationist - in theory you can be a Catholic and be creationist, too, you just don’t have to (and you probably can’t be a creationist Jesuit, lol). The Baptist denomination is associated with Baylor, which has an excellent track record in terms of research funding, and in terms of dealing appropriately with Dembski. I grew up in a rural Baptist church (although I have never been a practicing Baptist); my experience was the “Jimmy Carter” type Baptists, who balanced a non-hypocritical practice of somewhat severe Protestantism with humane, tolerant attitudes and respect for education and science.

However, when you step into declaring adoption of a science hostile theology as a requirement for satisfactory performance as a faculty member, or even into official denial and ridicule of the work of mainstream science faculty, I think that you run a major risk of creating an environment that is blatantly unsuitable for the receipt of taxpayer-funded research grants.

You guys may be right. However, a sizeable portion of most grants goes to “overhead” which can be used to defray operating costs for the institution. It would seem to me that this could represent state sponsorship. It would be unethical at least for such a state sponsored institution to use government funds in order to promote their own religious agenda.

Perhaps there is a gray area here, but it seems to me that there could be big problems if people are not very careful. Does anyone know of any case law rgardiing these points? It could be an important issue in the culture wars, even though grant funding might not be a big issue for many of these religious institutions.

harold said: However, there is a limit, I think. Liberty University is well past that limit. They create an atmosphere that is clearly hostile to mainstream science, to the extent that it grant money given to any member of their faculty would likely be wasted. If the funded researcher truly pursued valid research, he or she would sooner of later be fired or driven off.

I think we may be arguing about hypothetical cases that rarely, if ever, occur.

But in such a hypothetical case, I would still argue you give the grant if the person wins on merit, past performance, etc… criteria. I would not reject the proposal simply because the research is theologically opposed by other faculty or even the administration of the proposer’s university.

Look, if NSF receives a chimp research proposal from a guy at PETA U., its going to raise some eyebrows. They’d expect the researcher to demonstrate that they have access to the facilities and staff necessary to do the work proposed. But if the person has a good past performance of chimp research, and demonstrates that they have access to the necessary facilities and staff (maybe off-campus at the local National Laboratory), you wouldn’t reject their proposal out of hand merely because they worked at PETA U. Lots of professors do their research in part or in whole off-campus.

If they used the money for “research” that was just a front to get weasel-worded coded religion into some kind of publication, the grant money would not only be wasted, but arguably used in a way that violates the constitution.

Later in your post you called this fraud. I agree, its a form of fraud. But why treat it differently than other forms? Are you suggesting we levy “super bonus penalties” for unconstitutional fraud?

I guess what I’m asking (or disagreeing about) is what you’re proposing we do differently with such a reserach proposal. Are you suggesting we judge it using additional criteria? Are you suggesting we demand more information when it comes from a religious school, or switch our stance when we get a proposal from Liberty U. from ‘legit until proven fraud’ to ‘fraud until proven legit’?

In my opinion, those cures seem both unnecessary and unconstitutional themselves. IMO its better to treat them just as you would proposals from secular universities - no more leniently, but no harsher either.

DS said:

You guys may be right. However, a sizeable portion of most grants goes to “overhead” which can be used to defray operating costs for the institution.

In fact there is a precedent for this argument, espoused by none other than President Reagan. In 1984 he introduced restrictions on US aid to international charity organizations that provided abortion services even if the services were paid for by non-US funds. He argued that if US provides aids for the non-abortion services, then the savings realized by these organizations would be channeled into abortion services. He called it the principle of displacement or some such term. (President Clinton revoked it. President GW Bush reintroduced it. President Obama has revoked it. )

So yes, if an organization is religious and promotes it and proselytizes, even if it is done exclusively using non government funds, they should be denied the eligibility to apply for government aid to fund their secular activities. Reagan worshipers should agree. Tea party crowd also should agree because this limits government spending. Would they?

Generally 7th Day Adventists have not been counted with the fundamentalists. They differ on some very major theological beliefs, and many fundamentalists would even claim that they are not Christian. More moderately and accurately they are called heterodox, or believing different, and somewhat outside the boundaries of classical Christian beliefs. The importance of this is that 7th Day Adventists have surprisingly liberal views (or at least not conservative) on any number of social issues.

Last fall I gave several guest lectures on evolution, geology, and magnetic stratigraphy to the LSU campus, and found that the biology faculty were all legitimate biologists who practiced normal science and rejected all vestiges of YEC in their teaching and research. Several were quite successful in getting NSF grants for their research, and had a good track record in legitimate peer-reviewed publications on herpetology, molecular biology, etc. They would teach classes which were completely in line with conventional evolutionary biology, always forced to introduce their material with nods to Church teaching but demanding that their students understand legitimate evolutionary biology and be able to show their understanding on exams and papers, even if they didn’t agree with it. It’s scary to see these legitimate scientists now threatened by the Neanderthals in the LSU board who want to drag it back into the Middle Ages–something that none of them thought would happen when I met with them last fall…

something that none of them thought would happen when I met with them last fall…

Nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.

I’ve heard from SDA’a and former SDA’s that there is a deep division in the church between people who are culturally American modern and the hardcore fundies. Something like 90% of the members are in the Third World and fundie. Guess who will win that one?

Good thing we mean old seculars took away their armies and heavy weapons a few centuries ago. In times past, these splits were usually settled on the battlefield, sometimes with one side being genocided.

Maybe they can set up parallel departments of biblical biology and biblical astronomy and so on for people who don’t want their delicate brains destroyed by learning real science. For all their talk of faith and the all powerful god, most hardcore xians seem to think belief is fragile and easily lost by just reading a book or two.

Thanks Donald. That’s good to know.

It seems as though the university will have to give up all of that grant money if they decide to purge themselves of all real biologists. Either the biologists will leave voluntarily if they are not allowed academic freedom and the right to do real research, or they will be forced out by those with a religious agenda. If they are tenured, there will be law suits over this. Either way, the University cannot possibly hope to win if they choose censorship. Their reputation will be tarnished and they will probably never recover. Don’t they realize that it’s already too late to go down this road?

The real question is whether they will voluntarily give up all federal and state funding, or if they will try to hang unto it dishonestly while persuing their religious agenda. Grants are given to institutions, not just individuals, so this could get really interesting. It might even set some legal precendents, if such do not already exist.

Oh well, at least they would serve as a warning to other institutions who might face the same type of decision.

This is a incompetent presentation of YEC in Evangelical protestant circles historically. it is not the result of this sect or a few thinkers. It was SO the common opinion that the bible is the word of God and all accrate. This would of been, in America, the opinion of millions and a great percentage. They all believed Noah, like Jesus, was exactly a living being as presented. All that happened is small numbers got active in presenting the YEC case from serious study of origin issues to evangelicals and the rest. This particular sect was very interested in high knowledge issues like medicine etc and logically was first to address origin issues. Dr Morris was a great man, the Luther of creationism, but he only articulated vast common presumptions and put into it serious study of the issues. As in evolution claims there must be better scholarship here. are you really saying American dissenters/Evangelicals/fundamentalists/protestants were all card carrying evolutionists in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s?? Wasn’t that way here in Canada.!

Wow, all this creationist drama happening an almost literal stones-throw away from me and I had no idea.

I can add this however. I have been a frequent visitor to the LSU library and while they do have a fair amount of creationist material in their stacks they also have a decent selection of mainstream science references as well. So factor that in for what it might be worth.

Below is a canned post from the Expelled days. In fundie colleges and universities, firing or Expelling the biology faculty is always a possiblity.

Bitterman sued Iowa SW CC and won, they settled out of court. His sin was refusing to acknowledge that western civilization was started by a talking snake.

Gwen Pearson ended up quiting her job at UT Permian after getting beaten up. What sort of xian creep beats up a girl?

Rudi Boa sort of won in court. His murderer was convicted.

Looks like this list is going to get longer. The entire La Sierra biology department is on the chopping block now. Who would Jesus expell or fire?

The real story is the persecution of scientists by Fundie Xian Death cultists, who have fired, harassed, beaten up, and killed evolutionary biologists and their supporters whenever they can.

This is, of course, exactly the behavior of zealots who long ago forgot what the Christ in Christian stood for. These days, fundie is synonymous with liar, ignorant, stupid, and sometimes killer.

http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=626 [link goes to Blake Stacey’s blog which has a must read essay with documentation of the cases below.] As usual the truth is the exact opposite. The creos have been firing, beating up, attempting to fire, and killing scientists and science supporters for a while now. They are way ahead on body counts.

Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

I’ve discovered that this list really bothers fundies. Truth to them is like a cross to a vampire.

There is a serious reign of terror by Xian fundie terrorists directed against the reality based academic community, specifically acceptors of evolution. I’m keeping a running informal tally, listed below. They include death threats, firings, attempted firings, assaults, and general persecution directed against at least 12 people. The Expelled Liars have totally ignored the ugly truth of just who is persecuting who.

If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet)

1 persecuted unmercifully for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

Up to 12 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

And the Liars of Expelled have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

raven said:

Below is a canned post from the Expelled days.

I’m not familiar with Expelled (a movie?) but I would be extremely surprised to see violence within the Adventist school system directed against scientists. There have been some unfortunate offshoots from the SDA’s (the Branch Davidians come to mind) but they tend to get splintered off, voluntarily or otherwise, at the very beginning stages of objectionable rhetoric or theories. SDA’s have a very strong humanist/pacifist streak, and even in the case of military service, the church prefers its members to be conscientious objectors.

I know very well that there are violent fundamentalists who target scientists, but I get very leery of villianizing an entire religion on the unethical and well publicized actions of a just a few. I think it’s just as inappropriate to imply that Adventists might murder or assault a biology teacher as it would be to imply that all Baptists are ideologically aligned with the Westboro bunch.

(And believe me, I share your revulsion at the incidents you quote - it’s just very important to me not to fuel witch hunts in any direction, and in this case, it means sticking up for members of my former religion as the pacifists that msot of them are.)

fnxtr said:

You are a liar. Isn’t there a commandment about false witness, Brian?

Well, you have to remember that Brian said that he doesn’t care crap about what the Bible says he can or can not do, whether it’s bearing false witness in order to bully us into worshiping, , or meddling with and sneering at other people’s intimate relationships with God, or proclaiming himself to be God’s new prophet, nor does he care about what penalties are attached to such misdeeds, so long as he can somehow browbeat us into worshiping him.

SWT said:

The Bible is not a science text.

The Bible was not intended to be a science text.

You misuse the Bible when you try to use it as a science text.

Please stop before you drive more people away from the gospel.

Brian doesn’t care if he drives more people away with his abominable, unChrist-like behavior. He trusts that God will murder those people for not worshiping him as the 2nd Messiah.

Brian said:

WHY DIDN’T SHE TELL ME?

[garbled stuff about dinosaurs]

Why not just believe the Bible?

Brian stole this from Jonathan Gray’s Archaeology. Brian, I thought stealing was forbidden in your religion or is it just something else you forget whenever it is convenient?

Richard Simons said:

Brian said:

WHY DIDN’T SHE TELL ME?

[garbled stuff about dinosaurs]

Why not just believe the Bible?

Brian stole this from Jonathan Gray’s Archaeology. Brian, I thought stealing was forbidden in your religion or is it just something else you forget whenever it is convenient?

Of course, Brian is a liar, a thief and a fraud who claims to worship the Bible, but gets huffy and hurt when we point out that his actions are expressedly forbidden by the Bible.

Jhn 8:21Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Jhn 8:22Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. Jhn 8:23And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. Jhn 8:24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.

Brian: You make the scriptures which testify of Jesus an untruth so you deny Christ- “ye shall die in your sins”

Jhn 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. Jhn 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

The world, in which class you belong, hates Christ. “ye shall die in your sins”

See, in Brian’s insane little world, he is never wrong. About anything. Ever.

And he’s so humble! Just look how humble he is! Everyone, are you looking at how pious and humble Brian is? Look! Look!

Idiot.

So, according to Brian, simply because we can not find any reason to trust him or his rantings, or his lies, and that we refuse to allow Brian to manipulate our intimate relationships with God (of those of us who have them), we “hate Christ.”

Brian, tell us again why we should worship you as Jesus? I mean, didn’t the Bible say that worshiping false prophets, like yourself, is a big, super-sinful no-no? Oh wait, you don’t care, just so long as we’re cowed by your threats that God will murder us if we don’t bend over backwards in fear.

Please, get lost.

fnxtr said:

See, in Brian’s insane little world, he is never wrong. About anything. Ever.

And he’s so humble! Just look how humble he is! Everyone, are you looking at how pious and humble Brian is? Look! Look!

Idiot.

Yeah, and if we don’t sink to our knees in fearful awe of how humble Brian is, God is going to kill us all like He killed the Antideluvians and the Jews.

Lucky Lucket sez:

Have a look at the site Brian linked to. It’s from New Zealand, I’m ashamed to say. I always said that mob were too inbred for their own good.

umm, let’s see… sure Ray Comfort born in NZed… but where did he go to actually make money spewing his BS?

We laughed at him… you guys embraced him and made him a millionaire.

Frankly, I think, having lived there for 44 years, that the states have a higher proportion of inbred rednecks than all of the Austro-Pacific.

in fact, it’s why I left.

:p

Brian, why do keep lying to us in post after post? The bible’s not so bad, but all you’re doing is driving people AWAY from Christianity by showing yourself as a lying, boring, whiny, Bible-illiterate.

Hell’s weebles, my child, you don’t even understand the garbage you’re quoting.

The bible’s not so bad

ORLY?

O.o

Yes, rly.

It varies. Some of it is downright vile, but most of it is pretty fair, and some of it is beautiful, and some is words to live by, whether you believe or not. So no, it’s not so bad.

bah, most of it is utter gibberish, and its saving graces are nothing unique to it, but instead can be found in many other writings before or since.

Yes, I’ve read the thing cover to cover.

total waste of time.

better poetry can be had, even in period, easily enough. the “words to live by” vary so much in content and message, that surely even you can’t say with a straight face you would recommend the whole thing as a valuable moral treatise?

No, you have to cherry pick carefully, and even then the cherries you manage to salvage are only average. Nothing special.

better clean off those specs, Dave.

maybe it’s time YOU re-read the thing yourself?

just a suggestion.

You might want to have a listen to a Theologian who has himself decided the musty old thing isn’t worth the paper its written on.

try reading what Hector Avalos has to say about it:

The End of Biblical Studies

http://www.amazon.com/End-Biblical-[…]p/1591025362

I submit that those that think this book a treasure, were simply brought up to think so, without any real good reason.

I note your opinion, and decline further comment.

fair enough.

Do you take the History in the Bible as it actually happened? Were the Jews called out of Egypt? Did they wander for 40 years in the wilderness? Did God create the earth in six literal days? If it is History, it actually happened as it is recorded. Moses recorded that He was the “meekest man that ever lived”, since He wrote that couldn’t his meekness also be questioned?

Jhn 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

We’re still not impressed by your lies, hatred and stupidity, Brian.

Stop changing the subject, Brian, we’re talking about YOU.

You pompous, arrogant, pride-filled liar.

The Prince of Lies is laughing his ass of every time you post your stupidity here, you know that?

He loves it when you make Christianity a laughingstock.

You really want to serve Christ, and make your religion look worthy?

Shut. The Fuck. Up.

April Brown said:

Matt G said:

Do the Adventists have a “scientifically rigorous affirmation” of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin? I’ve checked Wikipedia, but they don’t have a published number.

Don’t think so - that whole “# of angels on the head of a pin” story was brought up when I was in school, but in the context of “see how silly Catholics can be.” That probably wasn’t entirely fair, but theological questions like that were presented as being irrelevant and/or sacreligious.

For what it’s worth, no Catholic theologian ever debated the question of how many angels can dance on the head of the pin; that idea was simply a parody invented by anti-Catholic writers during the Enlightenment. (What it was parodying was the actual debate as to how there can be more than one angel if angels are immaterial, since it was thought that the material composition is what differentiates different beings of the same species – to which the most popular resolution was that each angel is its own species.)

Debates over angels on heads of pins may not have happened exactly as later parodists claimed, but as Mr Long points out, there were long discussions in the Medieval over the relationship between the angelic and the physical.

Aquinas was one of the major contributors to this debate. He was attempting to reconcile cutting-edge (for him) science with matters spiritual. So we do get to read about whether or not angels passing from A to B necessarily pass through points inbetween. This is only ridiculous if you either (a) a priori reject the existence of angels or (b) see no need to make religion and science agree.

Is not the modern-day creationist attempting exactly what Aquinas thought he was undertaking? The only difference appears to be that Uncle Tommy had an exceptionally high-level understanding of both his religious and scientific theory – damn those geniuses, they make me feel inadequate! – whereas most creationists who post here seem a little more underinformed about both.

I’m not a member, but rather a friend of the church. I don’t think the argument is about which way is right (Evolution or Adam and Eve). Apparently, the faith does not stand on sturdy footing unless the 7 day process with Adam and Eve was reality. I think the argument is more about whether alternatives should be presented to the (science) students. The students seem to be arguing - how can they refute the validity of something if they don’t know anything about it. Some students have found that learning alternative theories has made their faith stronger. It is a shame that it seems the higher ups in the church feel threatened by alternative theories rather than willing to present them and deal with them head on. What better way to strengthen the faith of their flock?

— Just saying, I am a Seventh-Day Adventist, and yet I accept the fact of evolution. …

I really hate to say that the SDA church is full of intellectual light weights… at least where science is concerned.

I wish they would realize Science is not a threat to God. -sighs-

Friends

It seems we have lost our way. Any true christian will refer back to the bible at the light. God created this world in 6 days. There is study material supporting this fact. If you make a study of the evolution theory and the stuff that is not revealed in mainstream society you will answer the questions for yourself. There is enormous amount of theories of evolution that is easily explained by the creation of the Bible. For instance the start of all of this by the BIG Bang…take note that the Big Bang according to science does not correspond to the LAW OF Thermodynamic or the Law of ANGALER MOVEMT.…and this is only the start.

Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

Sorry, no other response is deserved.

Oh, except maybe: stick to the bible-thumping, Armand, your grasp of science is – to put it mildly – shaky.

superficial spiritualist evolutionist.…

Anyone who assumes that Evolution is some sort of spiritualism is a complete idiot.

The exact same goes for anyone who thinks that they can be smarter than scientists simply by rereading a literal interpretation of King James’ Translation of the Bible.

Brian said:

superficial spiritualist evolutionist.…

That’s “EVILutionist”! Geez, can’t you guys ever get it right?!

Someone said: Evolution is not a science, but is a religion.

Science, of course, involves observation, using on or more of our five senses (taste, sight, smell, hearing touch) to gain knowledge about the world, and being able to repeat the observation. No living scientist was there to observe the first life forming in some primeval sea. No living scientist was there to observe the “big bang” some billions of years ago. No living scientist was there to observe the supposed formation of the earth. No scientist was there, no human witness was there to see these events occurring. And they certainly cannot be repeated today. All the evidence a scientist has exists only in the present. The average person (including students) are not taught that scientists have only the present and cannot deal directly with the past. Evolution is a belief system about the past based on the words of men who were not there, but who are trying to explain how all the evidence of the present (that is fossils, animals, plants etc.) originated.

Webster’s Dictionary defines religion as follows: “Cause, principle or system of beliefs held to with ardour and faith.” Surely this is an apt description of evolution.

Evolution is a belief system – A RELIGION !

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/i[…]23835AAatZDg

Brian said: The average person (including students) are not taught that scientists have only the present and cannot deal directly with the past.

1. Present observations provide evidence for what happened in the past.

2. “Directly” gives away the show. Science is not limited to direct evidence; indirect evidence is fine too.

You do not need to see the tree actually fall in the forest to conclude that (a) that log on the ground was once an upright tree that fell (b) under a force of 9.8m/s2

Evolution is a belief system about the past based on the words of men who were not there,

No, its based on evidence we have now. Fossils we have now. Genetic information we have now. Geochronological evidence from minerals dug up yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

You can’t come up with an argument on your own? You have to parrot someone else’s?

C’mon Brian, leave the cut & paste to the 10-year olds - if you have an argument, tell us what it is.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 18, 2009 2:09 AM.

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